Lake Spafford Volunteer Gardening Team
Photo: Lake Spafford volunteers, from left: Marlene Chapman, Kathy Greenhalgh, Tanya Kucak, Bonnie Schmidt, Eva Hess, Barb Transon, Skip Mills, Bruce Behrens, Jean Kridl, Dave Sticha, Carol Benedetti, Jim Dunn, and staff leader Kitty Bolte. Not shown: Ann Garbeff, Joyce Tamanaha-Ho, Marcia Ohanaian, Jo Terry (photo by Ann Filmer)

Volunteer Team Spotlight: Lake Spafford Wednesday Volunteer Gardeners

The Lake Spafford Volunteer Gardening team is a long-standing group that meets on Wednesday mornings in the gardens around Lake Spafford. Kitty Bolte, the newest GATEways Horticulturist to join the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, is the lead staff member who works with this volunteer team. Kitty manages several plant collections on campus, oversees weekly volunteer groups, supports landscape student assistants and was the staff coordinator for the recent new volunteer training.

“These Lake Spafford Volunteer Gardeners are a committed group, and they are delightful to work with,” said Bolte. “They manage high-profile plant collections such as the Redwood Grove, on the south side of Putah Creek, which is used as a meeting and resting area for students and the public.”

“West of the Redwood Grove is the Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California Native Plants, an extensive demonstration of native plant gardening with aesthetic and climate value, which provides education for home gardening,” added Bolte. “The volunteers work precisely to maintain this diverse garden — they weed, prune, and deadhead plants, and they help establish new plantings such as those happening soon at the Wyatt Deck.”

The Sea of Cortez Memorial Garden and the historic East Asian Collection on the north side of the waterway are also work areas for the volunteers.

“All of these gardens in the Lake Spafford area are important because they’re accessible to central campus, and they get high use by students and the public,” said Bolte. “The gardens also tie into the Arboretum and Public Garden’s focus on Nature Rx — providing natural spaces which help improve health and well-being.”

A new staff member since last November, Kitty Bolte looks forward to working with Arboretum and Public Garden staff, community volunteers and students on increasing biodiversity and climate-ready plants for this regional area.

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